Need some top tips for designing and decorating your children's bedrooms? I thought so, and I am so pleased to share with you my chat with the amazing Christie Blizzard - Children's Interior Designer Extraordinaire. She is super talented and you will just love all her tips, tricks and fabulous ideas to create a haven for your child...
"I am passionate about creating spaces and places for little people. From parties through to bedrooms and nurseries, I thrive on taking a blank canvas and turning it into a functional and timeless space your little one will appreciate for a lifetime. My designs grow as your children do and are affordable, practical and most of all perfect for your family."
We are so excited to have you on Dot + Pop – firstly tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a mum to 2 amazing little girls Addi is 6, Berkley 2. I am also fortunate enough to be a designer of children’s spaces. Fortunate, as I am a big kid myself. I have a university degree in journalism and grew up dancing and performing on stage and TV. I love to create. I sew, write and love to get my hands dirty with DIY projects. I can’t sit still, always “switched on” and a little bit quirky. I am always thinking about new projects and there is nothing worse than being at a function with someone in the same dress, so I always do my best to think outside the square and have my own style.
How did you get into interior design and when/why did you decide to focus on Kids design?
For me it was a natural progression. As a child, my family rented so I was never able to put posters up and decorate my room how I liked so I had to be creative (and a little sneaky). I bought my first home straight out of high school and with a very limited budget, I learnt to make it my own with paint and DIY fixes. From there, i was asked to create spaces for my friends and it snowballed until I was on Ten’s The Renovators when I solidified my goal to be THE go-to children’s designer. I naturally migrated to children’s design as I love working with colour and am a big kid myself. I can let my natural creative flair takeover and it means I can create playful spaces rather than white boxes!
Top tip or advice to a first time renovator/decorator?
Don’t rush into anything. Pin ideas on Pintrest or start a scrapbook and see how your style evolves on paper before you go shopping. You will soon see what items work together and what don’t. It is boring, but it is all in the planning. If in doubt, find a designer - they are more affordable than you think and will often save you lots of money in mistakes. However, make sure you and your designer gel. You don’t EVER want to be bullied into a permanent decision for your home. Remember it is your space and you need to make sure it stays that way.
How important is decorating a kids room?
I think children’s rooms are like big hugs from their parents. Their space is a place where they dream at night, where they plan and create. It is so important to nurture these thought’s and their childhood. It is really imperative a child drifts off to sleep every night knowing how much they are loved, and what better way than looking at their own special piece of the world, created just for them - no matter what the budget.
How can people get inspired to move away from the pink or blue trap?
Pink and blue have long been the favourite in kid’s design but to me I think it is OK to be more adventurous than that these days. Green is great for boy’s rooms as is a strong, monochrome room. For girls, metallics are really popular, as are pastels. The trick though is to embrace colour and really know what your child wants in their room. If your daughter loves pink, you may want to just experiment with different shades - neons, peaches etc rather than just run-of-the-mill.
What’s your advice on decorating for a gender neutral babies room?
If you are wanting to create a space for your baby and don’t yet know the gender, be sure to plan something you can adapt as they grow. Don’t lock yourself into a particular style. A safe black and white room is lovely for nursery. It is very on trend and can be accessorised to look girls or masculine once bubba arrives, and it is very on-trend. If that is too modern for you, you can be more traditional and go classic with beautiful furnishings, a striped wallpaper and beautiful rug. Again, once baby arrives you can adjust by adding a cushion, linen and mobile to reflect their personality. A loose nautical theme can translate for both genders too - navy and red, as can educational-themed nurseries - like a world map wallpaper or a nature theme too if you MUST make the space complete before your due date.
How can we incorporate more storage into children’s rooms?
Children come with so many things! No matter how much you think you know, you will learn a lot more when they arrive and the presents start streaming in. If you are creating a space for a child no matter what age, you can NEVER have enough storage. Whether you have built in robes, underbid storage or a sturdy chest of drawers you will never have enough. I use floor-standing storage baskets, wall shelving (and you can make these stylish these days with shadow box shelving so you aren’t limited to a plank of laminate on some brackets) and funky wall hooks. The best thing you can do for little people is utilise their wardrobe. It is often the most overlooked piece of furniture. Often, the rails are high and there is a lot of space. Consider adding shelving above or below the rail, or adding a second rail for 2 rows of hanging space. Baskets under the rail are a neat way of storing soft toys too.
What is the best way to ensure the room grows with the child as they get older?
Don’t get locked into a particular theme! If your child is a Dora fan, don’t assume that phase will last forever. Don’t plaster your walls in Winnie the Pooh, even if you think he is cute. Think beyond that. Use colours rather than the theme. As I said earlier, a nautical theme is very popular at the moment. If you love this look, don’t pain boats on the wall, please! Use the colour scheme (navy blue, red and white) as your base for things not easily changed - walls, rugs and expensive items. If you need to include boats or anchors, do this with pillow accents that are cheap to replace. This principal will cross over to any themed room, just make the little accessories interchangeable. Large artwork can make a big statement and doesn’t have to cost a fortune, so changing the art, linen and a few accessories can easily update a room. If you are buying expensive pieces, make sure they are universal. It is like any other room in your home. You may love neon yellow, but you wouldn’t really buy a sofa in neon yellow - you would just buy the cushion. Use the same theory with your kid’s room too.
What is the most common mistake you see people make?
I have seen it all! The most common mistake is buying the bed, the linen and the rug. They buy the “staples” of a room and then they get lost and the room is lacking personality and love. Think about the room and how it will be used. If you plan on your child doing homework at the dining table, don’t put a desk in their room. If you want them to play in their room, include toy storage. Plan the space and take risks but do your research. Make sure everything you use in a child’s room is robust, safe and of course suitable to the look you are trying to create.
Do you have a favourite item in your home that you couldn't live without?
I love so many things in my home but it is the little things I love the most. The up cycled desk I found in the garage of a factory we bought, my Anya Brock original painting and the kid’s huge custom-built ball pit in the playroom keeps me sane when I am preparing dinner. However, it is the little things with memories attached that I hold most sacred - my manna’s vase, dried petals from a bunch of flowers my hubby bought me and a picture my daughter drew. Those things are what make a house a home and remind me every day how lucky I am.